Time. Our most precious, most expensive, most under valued commodity. It's the one thing we use that we can never get back. There is no price tag, no refund, no exchange policy. Once we've spent it, it's gone. Whether wasted or enjoyed, it is always limited and there is no countdown clock to show us what we have left. There is no way to measure the value of time, only in the memories we create.
I've been reading Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture", a book of short stories told by a man who had been dealt a horrific hand - a terminal cancer diagnosis while trying desperately to hang on to his role as husband, father and professor. This man knew how to live life, and he faced his cancer diagnosis with every bit of bravado he had given each obstacle he had faced throughout his life. Randy was well-aware that his time was limited and he wanted more than anything to impart whatever bit of wisdom he could to his young children and to teach the importance of living...of truly living.
This has lead me to think long and hard about the importance of time. In some ways because I fear missing out...I think I always have...I always needed to be "a part" of things, to always feel like I was in on whatever was going on for fear I might miss something...well, whatever I thought might be important at the time. But, it's more than that. I give time...I give it easily in whatever form necessary to show whomever I'm with that they are important to me and that I value the simplicity of time spent together no matter what we're doing. I'm old enough to admit that I do need (expect) the same in return - at least somewhat, and find myself upset when I don't get that. I don't need much in the way of gifts, but I do need time. I think it's because, to me, it is so very precious and we only have so much of it to give so why on earth wouldn't we want to spend it with those we love? Yes, "quality time" is one of my love languages and little irritates me more than spending time with someone who is more interested in their phone than they are with me...I hate feeling like second place to a device.
With time comes commitment...I'm not sure why, but for me it does. I need to know I matter enough to make a commitment...that I am valuable enough to commit time...life...to. I struggle with believing in myself enough, with loving myself enough, to think I'm truly worth that...at least that's where I seem to be at this point in my life. I'm having a really hard time making peace with some things right now and it's becoming glaringly obvious that I don't value myself enough to ask someone to make me a priority...to expect that they will...to not only want it, but to make it happen and not settle for anything less. To put a real value on MY TIME. I give...I give relentlessly when I believe in something, in someone...I will give so much of myself that I think I get lost and then I'm left feeling insecure and resentful and hurt...and more than anything, I'm left wondering "why?" Why wasn't I worth the investment, the commitment...the time. When in reality, it may not be about me at all. I mean, maybe a little, but most likely, it's about them and while it's really (and I mean REALLY) hard for me to give up on anyone, sometimes I have to. I have to value myself enough to see how unhealthy some things are and admit that it's just time to walk away. I have this huge hang up with feeling like I've made a difference, that I somehow mattered, that the TIME I invested in something...someone...was worth it - not so much to me, but more so to them. I don't know WHY I need this so desperately, but I do. Trust me, more often than not I wish I didn't need this but it seems to be how I'm wired. What I find most of the time is I'm left feeling disappointed because I'm a why person and a words person and typically when something ends we never really get anything that satisfies either of those things. What I do know is, once I'm done...I'm done. There is no turning back, no "second chances" because by that point I've given way too many of those and feel like a fool. What is it they say? Don't push a loyal person to the point they don't care anymore? Something like that. It's true. Trust me...once I've hit that point, I don't have anymore shits to give. The problem is, it takes me way too long to get to that point most often it seems. I'm either an idiot or a glutton for punishment...or, most likely, I see potential in people that may not exist and I want so much for them to see all that I see in them. It's a terrible flaw and one the eternal optimist in me struggles with constantly. (Sidebar: when I get to heaven, I'm going to ask why on earth my heart and brain do not communicate better - I feel like I would save myself a world of heartache if they did a better job of being on the same page. But that's a whole different topic.)
So...time. See...for those of you who haven't read some of my past stuff, I believe strongly that we meet the people we're supposed to meet, when we're supposed to meet them and that we serve a very specific purpose in each other's lives. The problem is, we have no idea how long we get with those people and for someone like me who has a terrible time letting go, I struggle desperately with the intense need to know that purpose...and whether or not we accomplished it. Anyway...I'm not sure that this was where I intended to go when I started this post. All I know is this: time is precious...priceless...invaluable. There is rarely enough and it passes without permission. Make what of it you have count...